Zynga exec backtracks on game cloning statements

Dan Porter argues his words have been misrepresented

Former OMGPOP CEO and GM of Zynga New York Dan Porter has had to clarify statements he made at a panel discussion in New York where he appeared to admit that Zynga copied games by other developers.

"Some of you have seen in the press that I supposedly said Zynga copies games," he said in a blog.

"I was very surprised when the article came out because it was a misrepresentation of what I said at a small talk about the future of gaming and where I talked mostly about wearable gaming and ramification of everyday events."

The statements he made were at a panel discussion hosted by Frank & Oak, an online clothing shop.

"Zynga is often accused of copying games, which is mostly true," he told the audience, adding that Zynga's talents were adding features to make those games a service. Those comments were then reported by Yahoo. He now says he wishes he hadn't touched on the subject at all.

"When I spoke to this group, I told them what I truly believe: the debate over copying games is a distraction if you are trying to figure out the future of social games; what matters is the ability to run those games as a service. But I also know that is a nuanced point and isn't quite as sexy a headline. I should know better. Lesson learned. Sometimes it is truly better to say nothing at all."

It's a sore point for Zynga, which has faced accusations of game cloning in the past, most notably from EA over its The Ville game, which bore a striking resemblance to The Sims Social and resulted in an out of court settlement, and developer Nimblebit's infographic showing how much Zynga's game Dream Heights resembled its hit Tiny Tower.

And it's not the first time Porter has courted controversy either. Last year he used Twitter to respond to an editorial by a former employee, which explained why he decided to leave the company rather than become a Zynga employee.

"The one OMGPOP employee who turned down joining Zynga was the weakest one on the whole team," tweeted Porter at the time. "Selfish people make bad games. Good riddance!"

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Latest comments (5)

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus4 years ago
Porter is a scumbag. He and Zynga deserve each other.
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Johnny Hsu Employee, EA4 years ago
My English may be terrible, but I don't know an alternate way to interpret the statement: "Zynga is often accused of copying games, which is mostly true... what Zynga is really good at is managing a game as a live service."

Sounds like he's proud about their ability to turn others' good ideas into profitable businesses through solid execution and high production values in the social/mobile space.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
Just like Pincus, trying to justify shameless cloning with comments like "oh, we just define innovation differently to everyone else".
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve4 years ago
"Stealing? No, no, think of it as borrowing without the intention of giving it back!"
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 4 years ago
Just when you think it can't get anymore amusing.
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